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NICE and cancer drugs - the facts

How many recommendations has NICE made?

Since 2000, when NICE started to produce cancer guidance, NICE has published 153 individual recommendations on cancer drugs in 106 technology appraisals.

Overall, 62% of all recommendations stated that the NHS should use these drugs in line with their marketing authorisation ('recommended'), or in specific circumstances ('optimised recommendation').

Breakdown of decisions in published technology appraisals for anti-cancer agents.

Recommendations for cancer appraisals

1 March 2000 to 31 March 2014

1 January to 31 March 2014

STA

MTA

Total

Yes

26 (46%)

55 (64%)

81 (57%)

-

Optimised

5 (9%)

2 (2%)

7 (5%)

1 (50%)

Only in research

2 (3%)

6 (7%)

8 (5%)

-

No

24 (42%)

23 (27%)

47 (33%)

1 (50%)

TOTAL

57

(100%)

86 (100%)

143(100%)

2 (100%)

STA, single technology appraisal: MTA, multiple technology appraisal

n.b. 10 non-submission recommendations have been excluded.

Optimised recommendations

Not all patients with a particular condition benefit from a drug and some drugs only work really well for some patients or at a particular stage in a disease. That is why NICE targets the use of some new drugs. In this way, patients who can really benefit can get access to treatment and the NHS can spread its resources to provide other treatments and services, for cancer patients and for other diseases and conditions.

Much of the targeting of recommendations follows advice on safety and efficacy from the European Medicines Evaluation Agency, which licenses new drugs and provides them with their marketing authorisation.

Since March 2000, NICE has made 7 optimised recommendations for the use of anti-cancer drugs.

End of life

Drugs, especially those for cancer, which extend life at the end of life are very important and since January 2009, NICE has given special weight to them.

In 2009, NICE agreed new criteria for appraising drugs which can extend life for people with terminal cancer. Up to 28 February 2014, 38 pieces of guidance have been published where these new criteria were considered for 46 anti-cancer agents, of which 12 resulted in positive recommendations for use in the NHS.

The Appraisal Committee recommended lenalidomide for multiple myeloma, sunitinib for the first-line treatment of renal cell carcinoma and for unresectable and/or metastatic GIST, oral topotecan for small-cell lung cancer, trabectedin for soft tissue sarcoma and pemetrexed maintenance treatment for non-small cell lung cancer, trastuzumab plus cisplatin and capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil for HER2-positive metastatic gastric cancer (IHC3 positive subgroup only), pazopanib for renal cell carcinoma, azacitadine for myelodysplastic syndromes, chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia and acute myeloid leukaemia, abiraterone in combination with prednisolone for the castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer, ipilimumab for advanced melanoma in adults who have received prior therapy and vemurafenib for BRAF V600 mutation-positive unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

This page was last updated: 16 April 2014

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.